Four-player chess (also known as Four-handed, Four-man, or Four-way chess) is a family of chess variants typically played with four people. A special board made of standard 8×8 squares with an additional 3 rows of 8 cells extending from each side is common. Four sets of differently colored pieces are needed to play these variants. Four-player chess follows the same basic rules as regular chess. There are many different rule variations; most variants, however, share the same board and similar piece setup.
Game play can be in teams, but it can also be a free-for-all, each player out for themself type play. As with regular chess, four-player chess begins with fortifications and the development of pieces, but opportunities for capturing pieces (and gaining points) come about at large from each of the three opponents, as likewise do attacks and threats of capture. Hence picking friends and enemies has a political quality to it, ultimately an impromptu team will have to combat each other as only one can win.